November 15 marked the launch of EgyptSourcethe new blog by the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East which follows Egypt’s transition and provides a platform for Egyptian perspectives on the major issues—economic, political, legal, religious and human rights—that are at stake in the post-Mubarak era.

The Council also announced the release of Egypt’s Imperiled Transition: Pakistan on the Nile?, a new issue brief. Authored by Michele Dunne, director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, the report explores the attempts of the transitional military council to maintain its hold on power and assesses key challenges facing the country leading up to parliamentary election that will begin November 28.

As Egypt’s transition continues to unfold, EgyptSource will offer the latest news combined with commentary by Egyptian contributors, profiles of emerging players, and independent analysis from the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. 

Magdy Samaan, a leading Egyptian journalist and contributor for EgyptSource, views the blog as a vital forum for Egyptian perspectives on the transition. “EgyptSource comes at a critical time for US-Egypt relations and Washington decision-makers can benefit from the voices of Egypt’s new generation,” Samaan said. 

The blog features leaders from Egyptian political parties, human rights organizations, and think tanks. Among other websites covering the region, EgyptSource offers a unique combination of breaking news and on-the-ground analysis of major political and economic trends from the perspective of Egyptians who are deeply engaged in the transition.  

Michele Dunne, director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, added, “Among the Arab countries in transition, Egypt is the one with the greatest potential to affect the entire region for good or for ill.  We are launching EgyptSource as a tool to encourage policy makers, journalists, and other interested observers to keep an eye on the ball.” 

A partial list of contributors:

  • Nadine Abdalla is a research fellow at the Arab Forum for Alternatives in Cairo and columnist for the independent daily newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm. Her research interests include trade unions, labor movements, social protests, and political parties in the post-Mubarak era.  
  • Bahey Eldin Hassan is a prominent human rights activist and the director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, an independent NGO founded in 1993 that has earned regional and international recognition for its effective advocacy of human rights and civil liberties.
  • Magdy Samaan is a freelance journalist and a 2011 MENA Democracy Fellow at the World Affairs Institute. Mr. Samaan has previously worked as a correspondent for the Egyptian independent newspapers Al-Shorouk and Al-Masry al-Youm as well as Al Jazeera, reporting on politics, religious minorities, and US-Egypt relations.
  • Dina Shehata is a senior researcher at the Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. She has published widely on the role of Islamists in the political process, post-authoritarian transitions to democracy, and new social movements in Egypt.
  • Dalia Ziada is competing in the November 2011 parliamentary elections as a candidate for the Eladl Party, a new party founded by young revolutionaries to affirm a moderate Egyptian religious and political ideology. An award-winning blogger and outspoken human rights activist, Ms. Ziada was recently named by Newsweek as one of 150 most influential women in the world.

About the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East: The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East seeks to produce original analysis of the forces transforming the region, as well as policy recommendations for the United States and Europe about how to promote closer and more productive relations with the region. The Hariri Center recognizes the substantial linkages between political and economic affairs, and will develop policy initiatives to promote successful democratic transitions and greater convergence among the Middle East, the United States, and Europe. The Center is dedicated to the memory of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his efforts to rise above sectarianism and to promote innovative policies to support economic and political liberalization, sustainable conflict resolution, and greater regional and international integration.